The responses to these questions were edited for length and clarity by the Georgia Decides team. Each candidate was allotted 150 words for each answer and some answers were trimmed in order to abide by that length requirement. Other edits were made to make sure readers can fully follow and understand the candidate responses.
Campaigning for: State House District 49
How does your background equip you for the job you are seeking?
I am a mother, a small business owner, a long-time advocate for the community and its residents. As a 25-year resident of Alpharetta and North Fulton County, I have seen a lot of change. The growth and progress in this area is exciting and creates the need to adapt to a diverse population and environment. I have always served the communities of which I have been a part. When I saw children struggling in the foster care system, I worked to create a nonprofit to help children get adopted and thrive in their new environments. When I saw gun violence escalating, I began working with Moms Demand Action and fought for common sense gun laws at the state Capitol. When I saw the gaps in funding needs in this community, I started a small business to help nonprofits raise funds to fill those gaps. I am a problem solver and always stand up for what is right.
What role should government have in the lives of Georgians? How would you apply that philosophy to the job you are seeking?
Government should work to improve the lives of all Georgians. When done well, the government helps to lift people up, supports a strong middle class, and provides paths to success and opportunities for all. I also believe that there are areas in which the government does not belong. Georgians overwhelmingly support reproductive freedom and the ability to make personal medical decisions with their doctors, without government interference. With regard to the government’s role, specific attention must be paid to specific needs. Georgia farmers need different support than Georgia teachers, but it all starts with funding and equitable policy making. I will apply this philosophy to the Georgia Legislature by working to break down complicated legislation. If it helps Georgians, I will support it. If it means bringing in government red tape or hinders Georgians’ chance to succeed to the best of their ability, I would reject it.
If you are elected (or re-elected), what problems will you spend the most time solving and why?
I will spend the most time solving the problems that can be addressed by bringing as many state resources to my district as possible. This is my home, and I want the best for our community, while also making sure that Georgians everywhere have opportunities to thrive. I will work to address property taxes and limit increases that affect the wallets of the residents. Funding for public schools is a priority as we need to keep our education system strong. To address public safety, I will work with law enforcement and local leadership to be sure we are addressing the concerns of our community and keeping everyone safe. I will also focus on strengthening our small businesses and eliminating obstacles to success.
Georgia is a politically diverse state. How will you work to represent Georgians whose political views differ from your own?
It is important to listen to all Georgians, even when we have disagree. I intend to bring civility back to politics, since we have gotten away from that in recent years. Every voice should be heard, and all groups that are looking out for the best interest of Georgians should have a seat at the table where the decisions are being made. I personally come from a very large family with a great deal of diversity in terms of politics, socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, education, etc. But we come together to support one another and discuss our differences. There is no reason the state Legislature cannot do the same. I believe that fostering collaboration is the key to effective leadership.
Who has been the biggest influence on how you view state government and politics? What have you learned from this person?
Some say when you get married you become “one,” so I am going to use this rationale to answer this question with two people who have had the biggest influence on my view of state government and politics. They are my sister, a registered nurse, and her husband, a law professor. They are politically astute, thoughtful, and intelligent people who see the legal, medical, and social implications of the political environment in which we live and how heavily impacted that is by the state government. Like me, they have always been active in their communities and have worked tirelessly to make a difference through their professions. Our frequent and involved conversations and shared activism have brought me to the decision to work directly to affect change and help others on the state level by becoming a member of the Georgia Legislature.
Georgia has a lot to offer current and potential residents, but many parts of the state are becoming increasingly unaffordable. Please explain your proposed approach to address housing affordability through legislation and executive actions?
My family and I have lived in North Fulton county for 25 years. Housing prices have increased consistently over this time period. North Fulton cannot continue to thrive as a community when essential members of the community — first responders, teachers, and service industry workers, for example — cannot afford to live near their place of work and be a full time member of the community they serve. We have to find creative solutions to our housing shortages, such as mixed-use developments, along with placing a priority on raising wages. This will require collaboration and problem solving by the state House, the state Senate, and the governor’s office. We can make our communities more inclusive and affordable.
Politics is often about compromise. How do you decide when to compromise and take small, incremental wins, and when to refuse compromise?
Compromise is essential, and when to do so is absolutely decided on a case-by-case basis. It is important to recognize when an issue or piece of legislation involves a moral imperative, such as voting rights, women’s rights, or LGBTQ+ protection. In those cases, compromise is not an option. In other cases, meeting in the middle for the good of all can be effective for making progress for all Georgians. I am committed to collaborating to get things done, working toward progress, and moving Georgia forward.
There were politicians who questioned the outcomes of Georgia elections in 2018 and 2020. Do you think Georgia’s elections are secure and will you stand by the results?
Georgia’s elections are secure, have been secure, and will remain secure. No evidence has been found to the contrary, and this issue needs to be put to rest. There is no room for elected officials who continue to erode public trust of our institutions and election system. However, we have entered very dangerous territory by recently creating legislation in Georgia predicated on the idea that the 2020 election was somehow hacked. This thought process needs to change. The public can trust the election results of the past and of the upcoming election in November.
In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, state law and local enforcement authority will determine access to abortion.
I plan to support and protect women’s rights to reproductive freedom. There is no place for the government in the decision-making process of women and their families regarding if and when to start or grow a family. The current abortion ban in Georgia is extreme and puts women at risk due to the inability of doctors to legally provide the proper reproductive health care women need, epecially if there are any pregnancy complications. I trust women and their ability to make their own decisions, and will never stop fighting for this right and working to repeal this dangerous law. I have one daughter and 21 nieces. They deserve to grow up and live in a place where they can have autonomy over their own bodies.
Are there any programs/legislation you’ve sponsored or created to help people with disabilities?
I am not a career politician and have not previously held an elected office in the state Legislature. Through my nonprofit work, however, I have created countless programs and raised millions of dollars to support and benefit individuals with disabilities. I have helped and supported children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses, children with developmental disabilities, individuals with mental health issues, individuals with physical disabilities, in addition to other groups. I have done this by creating programs in which they can participate, connect with others in the same situation, and thrive. I have also addressed the funding needs by working to organize communities to raise the necessary money to provide this support.
Georgia closed out its budget year with a “likely record surplus, billions of dollars in federal aid and a growing economy.” Georgia spends more than half of this money on education and health care. What would you want to see in the budget in terms of spending or taxes?
There are many ways in which the state’s surplus funds can be put to use that will have an immense positive impact on Georgians. I would like to see an increase in pay for teachers and first responders as they are essential to a healthy, vibrant community. We also need to protect our education system by filling budget gaps in schools, such as for student transportation, paid parental leave and assisting students living in poverty. nvesting in the school buildings themselves, some of which are crumbling around our students, is also essential.
We need to also use this surplus for Medicaid expansion, which will actually save Georgia money in the long run. Expanding Medicaid would provide nearly 500,000 Georgians with access to healthcare. Ninety percent of this cost would be paid by the Federal government, with the state paying only 10%.
The Legislature often votes along party lines. When would you seek bipartisan action and what issues merit such consensus?
The issues that Georgians care most about should not be partisan, such as accessible and affordable healthcare, quality education, a thriving economy, more money in our constituents’ pockets, a reduction in gun violence and increased safety, and protecting the environment and our future. These are things we all care about. Lawmakers need to come together to enact and put into law the legislation and solutions that benefit all Georgians. We are elected to serve our constituents and they care about results and not party lines or who initially proposed the policy.